Mountain Biking in Vermont’s Upper Valley

 

Mountain Biking in Vermont’s Upper Valley

Photo of a Man Mountain Biking in Vermont's Backcountry.As we enthusiastically greet summer’s long-awaited arrival, it’s impossible not to ponder the many wondrous outdoor adventures readily available in the Upper Valley, Vermont’s idyllic gully of romance. With operations gradually returning to semi-normalcy, we expect an influx of nature enthusiasts in the coming months who value the valley’s sprawling natural beauty. The region itself is known for its picturesque covered bridges, serene waterfalls, jaw-dropping scenic overlooks, and glorious Artisans Park. And one of the most common thrill-based exploratory activities is mountain biking (or, to a small sect, cycling). Mountain biking in Vermont’s Upper Valley is a visual, muscle-building treat that very few undertake. Thus, the trails near The Norwich Inn are never crowded.

Mountain Biking in Vermont: 10 Upper Valley Trails

It’s no secret that New Englanders cannot resist the call of Vermont’s rolling mountain ranges, particularly during summer’s lush and autumn’s peak. The allure of Norwich, in comparison to other neighboring destinations, is its proximity to everything, including a prestigious Ivy League institution, some of the country’s finest breweries, a bevy of historical landmarks, and, yes, King Arthur Flour’s flagship campus. There’s a lot to love about this densely-thicketed, riverside community. And perhaps the cherry on top is the area’s growing trail network. When examined as a collective whole, this network of singletrack provides some of the most enticing mountain biking in Vermont. So, without further ado, here are 10 distinct trails near modern Upper Valley rentals:

  1. Blue Ribbon
  2. Brookemeade Main Loop
  3. The Rollercoaster
  4. Noodle’s Revenge
  5. French’s Ledges
  6. Fusters Trail
  7. Parcel 5
  8. Boston Lot 3
  9. Heyl-Dothan Connector
  10. Hardwoods

Alternative Routes: Roads and Rails

You’ll notice from the list above that Pittsfield, a nearby community, has a thriving network of mountainside trails. It’s not overly common to discover such magical mountain biking in Vermont near a village of fewer than 550 residents. It’s worth noting that cycling in Vermont is also subtly growing in popularity. The glory of cycling is that the backcountry is your oyster; there’s seemingly no cap on adventure in the countryside. And the Northern Rail Trail is, without a doubt, the prettiest route in the Upper Valley. This mostly-flat, 58-mile path spans two counties, making it the longest rail-trail conversion in the state. Most cyclists pick up the route near Lebanon. It goes without saying that the leaf-peeping on this trek is undeniably awe-inspiring.

Historic Hotels near Hanover, NH

Photo of People Dining at Norwich Inn After a Day of Mountain Biking in Vermont.

A common gathering place following a full day of mountain biking in Vermont’s glorious backcountry is Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse, a cozy, familiar slice of the past. As one of the premier restaurants in Norwich, we’ve expanded the alehouse throughout the decades. Patio seating is a hot commodity during peak seasons, so please arrive early to nab a table. The Norwich Inn provides an idyllic combination of history, gourmet cuisine, fine ales, and outrageous specials and packages. For updates on lodging, dining, and capacity, please bookmark this link (or follow us on our social media channels).

A Visitor’s Guide to the Upper Valley

 

A Visitor’s Guide to the Upper Valley

Upper ValleyThe Upper Valley, which covers acreage in both Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire, remains a historical, adventurous, and undeniably charming four-season destination. Travelers return time and time again to bask in the natural beauty, indulge in the sophistication, and learn more about the region’s absorbing historical significance. And the most desirable location to start and finish each day is right here at The Norwich Inn, one of the top-reviewed hotels near Dartmouth College. Where else can you stay on a 200-year-old property that features elegant guest rooms, fine dining, and an award-winning craft brewery?

15 Reasons to Visit the Upper Valley

The Upper Valley requires repeat visits as each season is unique. Summer is bustling with outdoor adventurers. Fall hosts a wide variety of leaf peepers. Winter ushers in hundreds of couples in need of an extended break from the city. And spring breathes new life into the Upper Valley’s shops, restaurants, and, of course, nearby wilderness. To ensure that your next visit to The Norwich Inn is nothing short of flawless, we’ve compiled 15 unique reasons to visit Norwich this year (regardless of the season).

  1. Tour Dartmouth College, with a Stop at the Hood Museum of Art
  2. Pose Next to the Prettiest Covered Bridges in the Upper Valley
  3. Spend a Day at Artisans Park in Nearby Windsor; the Path of Life Sculpture Garden Is a Revelation
  4. Upper ValleyEnroll in Baking School at King Arthur Flour’s Flagship Campus
  5. Attend Vermont NanoFest, New England’s Premier Beer Festival
  6. Plan a Stay During the Annual Upper Valley Restaurant Week
  7. Bask in the Upper Valley’s Jaw-Dropping Fall Colors
  8. Learn, Shop, and Dine at Simon Pearce’s Flagship Location (as seen in the photo above)
  9. Treat the Kids to an Afternoon at the Montshire Museum of Science
  10. Hike to the Top of Gile Mountain, Home to the Upper Valley’s Best Vantage Point
  11. Shop ‘Til You Drop in Norwich, Hanover, and Artisans Park
  12. A Weekend of Craft Beer at Jasper Murdock Ales, Our On-Site Brewery
  13. Paddle down the Connecticut River via Canoe, Kayak, or Paddleboard
  14. Farm to Barn to Bottle: Join a Silo Distillery Tour
  15. Plan a Picturesque Wedding at The Barn at Happy Hill, a Rustic Fairytale Come to Life

Upper ValleyHistoric Hotels in Norwich, VT

Whether you plan to visit Dartmouth College, explore the Green Mountain State, or relax here at The Norwich Inn, you quickly fall in love with this region’s unique blend of history, adventure, and refinement. And don’t forget that both the Ivy Lodge and Walker House boast some of the prettiest Upper Valley rentals, all of which are just a short drive (or walk) from the city’s best attractions. Please give us a call today at 802-649-1143, or visit our specials page, to book a well-deserved escape into the heart of New England.

The 9 Prettiest Covered Bridges in Vermont

 

The 9 Prettiest Covered Bridges in Vermont

Vermont is brimming with history as its statehood was granted all the way back in 1791. And in the late 1830s, covered bridges began to “pop up” in various regions, most notably in the densely-forested Upper Valley. There’s something magically romantic and undeniably picturesque about a century-old covered bridge. A large number of the prettiest covered bridges in Vermont are within 60 minutes of The Norwich Inn, effectively drawing thousands of travelers each year to our charming Connecticut River community.

The Best Covered Bridges in Vermont

If you’ve ever taken a peek at a detailed map of the covered bridges in Vermont, you already know that they’re around nearly every bend in the road. To ensure that your next relaxing, romantic Upper Valley escape is nothing short of flawless, we’ve pieced together a handy list of our favorite covered bridges. Many of these beauties have been restored or reconstructed in the last decade due to Hurricane Irene. But, thankfully, each bridge has regained its former beauty.

Covered Bridges in Vermont1. Taftsville Covered Bridge – Woodstock

Built: 1836
Length: 189 feet (two spans)
Description: Taftsville’s crimson beauty sits above the serene Ottauquechee River. It remains the oldest covered bridge in Vermont—it’s a genuine timeless wonder. No covered bridge driving tour is complete without a stop at Taftsville.

2. Quechee Covered Bridge – Quechee

Built: 1970 (rebuilt in 2012)
Length: 70 feet
Description: Quechee’s original structure was unfortunately washed away by Hurricane Irene in 2011. But the nearly-identical 2012 version still provides jaw-dropping Ottauquechee River gorge views. And it’s steps from Simon Pearce’s turbine-powered glassblowing studio and fine riverfront restaurant.

3. Union Village Covered Bridge – East Thetford

Built: 1867
Length: 113 feet
Description: For whatever reason, Thetford’s Union Village never ranks among the best covered bridges in Vermont—until today. The surrounding beauty and handcrafted interior amplify the experience. Oh, and it’s just six miles north of The Norwich Inn.

Covered Bridges in Vermont4. Middle Covered Bridge – Woodstock

Built: 1968 (rehabilitated in 1976)
Length: 124 feet
Description: A fire nearly engulfed Middle Covered Bridge in the mid-1970s, but, thankfully, she survived. This bridge is particularly fun because it has a safe walking path along the edge where visitors can closely observe the craftsmanship.

5. Moseley Covered Bridge – Northfield

Built: 1899
Length: 39 feet
Description: Although small, Moseley remains one of the most picturesque covered bridges in Vermont thanks to its vivid red hue. It sits along a quiet, countryside road near the small town of Northfield.

6. The Vermont Country Store Kissing Bridge – Rockingham

Built: 1870 (dismantled in 1959, rebuilt in 1967)
Length: 160 feet
Description: While “The Kissing Bridge” isn’t among the prettiest covered bridges in Vermont, tourists (especially couples) flock to this unique destination to pose for a kiss. The Vermont Country Store, meanwhile, is a compelling draw as their homemade goods are quite splendid.

Covered Bridges in Vermont7. Lincoln Covered Bridge – Woodstock

Built: 1877 (rehabilitated in 1989)
Length: 129
Description: Locating a covered bridge in Woodstock, Vermont, isn’t challenging—there are several. Lincoln doesn’t get a ton of love, but the riverside vantage points are stellar.

8. Worrall Covered Bridge – Rockingham

Built: 1868
Length: 83 feet
Description: The lush, towering hillside creates an idyllic atmosphere at Worrall Covered Bridge, one of the least-visited Southern Vermont bridges. It’s undergone a handful of restorations, but it’s never looked more visually striking than today.

9. Mill Covered Bridge – Tunbridge

Built: 1883 (rebuilt in 2000)
Length: 73 feet
Description: Technically, Mill Covered Bridge is a replica of the original 1883 marvel. But it still exudes beauty and simplicity. The shallow, rocky White River is a great place to skip stones, snap photos, and enjoy a picnic.

Historic Hotels in Norwich, VT

After visiting some of the prettiest covered bridges in Southern Vermont, retreat to The Norwich Inn for an evening of award-winning craft beer, fine dining, and a dash of sophistication. Browse through our elegant, romantic guest rooms to find one that perfectly suits your style and budget. The Norwich Inn’s history dates all the way back to 1797, so your well-deserved Upper Valley getaway certainly won’t be short on historical significance. Give us a call today at 802-649-1143 to learn more about our lovely inn (or check availability online).

Vibrant ‘Upper Valley’ Vermont Fall Colors

 

Vibrant ‘Upper Valley’ Vermont Fall Colors

Vermont Fall ColorsWe’re on the heels of yet another glorious fall season here in Norwich, VT. As the Upper Valley’s lush forestry transforms into a jaw-dropping blend of crimson, amber, marigold, and hunter green, The Norwich Inn welcomes hundreds of “leaf peepers” who are aching to become fully immersed in autumn’s beauty. Whether you’re aiming to hike atop a mountain, snap photos of a covered bridge, or visit a rousing fall festival, we’re just a short drive from some of the most vibrant Central Vermont fall colors. As always, don’t forget to take a glimpse at the up-to-date Vermont fall foliage report before departure.

Locate Awe-Inspiring Central Vermont Fall Colors

Many guests, before booking, search “what to do in Vermont in October” to get a better understanding of a potential autumn escape to Norwich, VT. To ensure that your well-deserved fall getaway to the Upper Valley is nothing short of flawless, we’ve pieced together some of our favorite fall activities. If you’re hoping to find a list of quintessential fall drives near The Norwich Inn, we recommend simply hitting the open road and letting this magical landscape surprise you!

The Best Fall Hike and Overlook: Gile Mountain Trail

Even if you’re not a self-proclaimed nature enthusiast, you can probably appreciate an easy-going hike in the crisp, fresh autumn air. The Gile Mountain Trail, located inside the “Norwich Town Forest,” is home to the region’s best valley views. Despite offering a marvelous, sweeping overlook atop a sturdy fire tower and a peaceful backcountry hiking trail, most travelers don’t know about Gile Mountain. The easy-to-moderate 0.7-mile hike atop Gile Mountain features diverse flora, including dense forestry and tall ferns.

The Prettiest Covered Bridge: Quechee Covered Bridge

Vermont Fall ColorsThe Upper Valley is home to dozens of picturesque covered bridges, many of which are within 30 minutes of our historic Norwich, VT, inn. And it’s nearly impossible to top the rustic beauty of the Quechee Covered Bridge, especially when quintessential Central Vermont fall colors surround it. Not only does this 49-year-old, 70-foot-long steel bridge make a perfect postcard photograph, but it’s steps away from The Mill at Simon Pearce, an ultra-popular, turbine-powered glassblowing studio and waterfall-view restaurant.

Woodstock Festivals

As you might expect, there are several family-friendly Central Vermont fall festivals in the region. But we recommend embarking on a short journey to nearby Woodstock, VT, where you’ll discover not one but two mid-October extravaganzas on the same weekend. Woodstock’s Harvest Festival and (take a deep breath) the Apples and Crafts Fair & Food Truck Festival are both worth a visit, even if it’s just for an hour or two. When you’re not sipping on spiced cider and munching on fresh-made doughnuts, join the barn dance, vegetable harvest, or cider pressing.

Best Breweries in Vermont: Jasper Murdock Ales

When you’re not observing and capturing the prettiest Upper Valley Vermont fall colors, don’t forget to slip into The Norwich Inn’s pub for a pint of our microbrewery’s Bavarian märzenbier. This balanced, mildly-sweet Oktoberfest lager is malty yet sessionable. Don’t forget to return home with a growler of this tasty, seasonal brew! The Norwich Inn is not only one of the top-rated hotels near Dartmouth College, but our historical landmark was established back in 1797. Browse through our vacation packages and specials before booking direct at NorwichInn.com.